Thursday, April 27, 2006

Interesting news: Judge creates own Da Vinci Code

The BBC is reporting that the judge who presided over the recent Da Vinci Code plagiarism case used steganography to embed his own code in the judgment using italic text in random places throughout the text.

The full text of the code reads 'smithcodeJaeiextostpsacgreamqwfkadpmqz' if you want to have a go at cracking it." From the article: "Although he would not be drawn on his code and its meaning, Mr Justice Smith said he would probably confirm it if someone cracked it, which was 'not a difficult thing to do'. In March, he presided over a High Court case brought by authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, who claimed Dan Brown plagiarized their own historical book for The Da Vinci Code."

Justice Peter Smith italicised key letters in the 71-page judgment, and has promised to reveal all when someone cracks the code.

However, when one searches for the text in the pdf... one comes up empty. More digging and from what i managed to gather so far, according to Mr Justice Smith ,the pattern was "something more than a typo". The judge, who is 53 and lists some of his hobbies as reading military history and the sinking of the Titanic, said that paragraph 52 of his judgment would give readers a clue to the puzzle.

That paragraph reads: "I have set out at some length what in my opinion is an overall analysis of HBHG [The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail]. I have done that and will do the same further in this judgment in respect of DVC [The Da Vinci Code] because that is essential in my view to deciding this case."The paragraph ended: "The key to solving the conundrum posed by this judgment is in reading HBHG and DVC."

Checking the pdf, the actual characters (with their paragraphs) are:

1:s, 2:m, 3:ithy, 4:c, 5:o, 6:d, 7:e, 8:Ja, 9:e, 11:ie, 13:x, 14:t, 16:os, 18:t, 19:g, 20:p, 21:s, 23:a, 25:cgr, 26:e, 27:a, 29:m, 30:w, 31:f, 34:k, 35:a, 37:d, 38:p, 40:m, 42:q, 43:z

In Mr Justice Smith's coded judgment, the first nine digits obviously spell Smith Code:
s,m,i,t,h,c,o,d,e,J,a,e,i,e,x,t,o,s,t,p,s,a,c,g,r, e,a,m,q,w,f,k,a,d,p,m,q,z.

Beyond that is anyone's guess.

Some tossups:
#1: Is it just a subsbitution ciper with the letters "smithcode" being the first ones?
#2: Same lenght of the judge's hidden string and the titles of the books


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Anonymous said...

I was having fun solving it too until I discovered that it had already been cracked:

Darren Dirt said...

NY Times requires a login, so here's a non-NY Times URL:

Da Vinci judge's secret code is solved

( )

or Google News:'s%20secret%20code%20is%20solved